Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for May 3rd, 2007

Pelosi is impressive

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Written by Leisureguy

3 May 2007 at 5:34 pm

The GOP ties itself into a knot

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From AmericaBlog, an interesting report on the “tolerant” GOP:

Steny Hoyer and John Conyers just pulled a fast one on the GOP. The GOP has been refusing to support the hate crimes bill because it doesn’t include members of the US Armed Forces and senior citizens. Conyers just rose and basically said, okay, I’ll add them. The Republicans’ response? Uh, no.

The Republicans have been railing for days about how this legislation doesn’t cover our Armed Forces and senior citizens, and now that the Dems offer to put our Armed Forces and seniors in this legislation, the Republicans said no and affirmatively stopped the Democrats from doing it anyway.

That means the Republicans had no intent on helping our Armed Forces and seniors, on protecting them. It was just a stunt. The GOP leaders in Congress just got up and used our Armed Forces and seniors as political fodder when they had no intent on actually doing anything to help our Armed Forces and seniors.

Some good video clips at the link. Take a look.

Written by Leisureguy

3 May 2007 at 3:25 pm

Medical marijuana on the move

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An email from the Marijuana Policy Project:

This has been an exciting, action-packed week for MPP’s state legislative efforts.

Please read about our amazing progress in Rhode Island, Vermont, Minnesota, New York, and Illinois, and then click here to donate to our lobbying juggernaut.

To start, the Rhode Island Senate just voted 28-5 to make Rhode Island’s medical marijuana law permanent. This vote follows a 50-12 vote on the bill in the Rhode Island House of Representatives yesterday. The margin of victory in both votes is extremely important, as Gov. Donald Carcieri (R) has said he will veto the bill. Because our legislation has passed both chambers by a veto-proof margin, we hope that the veto and subsequent veto-override will occur before the current law is scheduled to expire on June 30. Click here to read some positive local news coverage of the votes.

Also yesterday, the Vermont House of Representatives gave final approval to the bill to improve Vermont’s existing medical marijuana law. MPP has been coordinating the lobbying campaign for the bill, which would qualify patients suffering from conditions that cause nausea, wasting, chronic pain, or seizures; increase the number of plants that a qualifying patient may possess; and reduce the program registration fee from $100 to $50. Yesterday’s House vote follows an overwhelming voice vote in favor of the bill in the Vermont Senate earlier this year. The bill will soon head to Gov. Jim Douglas (R), who we hope will let the bill become law without his signature, as he did with the original version of the bill that we enacted into law in 2004.

And this week, the Minnesota Senate twice voted in favor of our medical marijuana bill (35-29 today, and 33-31 on Tuesday), marking the first time that either chamber of the Minnesota Legislature has passed medical marijuana legislation. And a companion bill in the House has already passed four House committees and is now headed to its fifth and last. With various legislative leaders in Minnesota firmly committed to passing this bipartisan legislation, we’re hopeful that our bill will soon head to the desk of Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R). Click here to read some positive local news coverage of our bill.

Plus, our medical marijuana bill in New York passed an Assembly committee with a vote of 15-4 on April 14, and the Illinois Senate is soon expected to hold a floor vote on our medical marijuana bill, which recently received public endorsements from the Illinois Nurses Association and the AIDS Foundation of Chicago. Click here to read some positive local news coverage that our Illinois bill has generated.

Please consider making a donation today to support MPP’s state legislative efforts. We are getting closer to passing medical marijuana bills in five states this year.

Written by Leisureguy

3 May 2007 at 3:14 pm

Posted in Drug laws, Government

Seems like a good choice for Public Editor

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The problem with Byron Calame as Public Editor of the NY Times was that he didn’t really represent the readers, but rather management. He seemed always to look for the reason that whatever the NY Times did in its reportage was good.

Now the Times has named a new Public Editor, and it looks like a good choice:

The New York Times today named its next public editor, Clark Hoyt, a former Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and editor who oversaw the Knight Ridder newspaper chain’s coverage that questioned the Bush administration’s case for the Iraq war.

Mr. Hoyt, 64, was the Washington editor at Knight Ridder from 1999 until the company was sold last year. His responsibilities included overseeing the Washington news bureau, the chain’s foreign bureaus and the wire service that the company ran jointly with the Tribune Company.

Before that, he had served as Knight Ridder’s Washington bureau chief, and then as vice president for news, with responsibility for hiring and promoting top editors at the company’s newspapers, which included The Miami Herald, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The San Jose Mercury-News and The Detroit Free Press.

In the prelude to the Iraq war and the early days of the war, Knight-Ridder stood apart from most of the mainstream news media in consistently raising doubts about the Bush administration’s claims, later discredited, that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and ties to Al Qaeda. Bill Keller, the executive editor of The Times, said that record contributed to his selection of Mr. Hoyt.

“There was a lot of work Knight-Ridder did that was prescient, that wasn’t easy to do,” Mr. Keller said. “It’s always hard to go against conventional wisdom. I think it probably brings him a measure of credibility that helps in getting started on a job like that — that he’s been associated with a brave and aggressive reporting exercise like that.”

Mr. Hoyt said that in 2002 and 2003 he had fielded a great deal of criticism “from angry readers who believed that we weren’t being patriotic, from government officials who said that what we were doing was wrong.”

His appointment as public editor takes effect May 14 and lasts two years. He will be the third person to hold the position since The Times created it in 2003, following Daniel Okrent and Byron Calame. Mr. Keller said he considered, but ultimately rejected, the idea of hiring someone from within The Times, or someone from a digital news operation.

Mr. Hoyt said that he could not predict what subjects he might focus on. “They are likely to be driven by what readers care about and complain about,” he said.

More at the link.

Written by Leisureguy

3 May 2007 at 11:01 am

Posted in Media, NY Times

Good news on wrongful convictions

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From TalkLeft:

A press conference will be held in New York today heralding the introduction of a much needed legislative reform package that will help reduce the number of wrongful convictions. From the Innocence Project‘s press release (no link, received by e-mail):

The sweeping legislative package includes fundamental reforms – including access to post-conviction DNA testing, preservation of evidence that can prove innocence, mechanisms for people to prove their innocence by using forensic databases that can identify true perpetrators of crimes, the formation of a state Innocence Commission and others.

Written by Leisureguy

3 May 2007 at 10:53 am

Posted in Government

Another batch of chile-garlic paste

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I just made another batch of the chile-garlic paste. Turns out that it doesn’t last very long if you eat a lot of it. I’ve noticed that with other things, too.

It was much easier this time, since I knew exactly what to do. I did remember to toast the peppers in a hot skillet, though I can’t tell that it made any difference. Doing it over an open flame might be a different story, though.

I used more garlic, and I crushed the cloves with the side of my Chinese knife so that they would process better. (A whole clove can sometimes escape the blade.) I used rice-bran oil again, but added just a little toasted sesame oil, since I like the flavor. And I would have used a little fresh ginger if I had had any. Probably should have added some salt—I forgot. I did add some crushed red pepper flakes, since the dried peppers I have are not very hot. I’ve asked The Wife (who is in Palo Alto today) to buy a good selection of dried peppers and bring them home.

This batch, like the last, is excellent. Probably used just a little two much garlic—two cloves next time instead of four. But still quite tasty and not hot—I had a spoonful.

Written by Leisureguy

3 May 2007 at 10:13 am

Posted in Food, Recipes & Cooking

GOP “tolerance”

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In the comments below, a commenter took Democrats to task for not showing tolerance. The GOP, in the commenter’s mind, shows great tolerance. Reality, though, is different:

“The White House issued a veto threat Thursday against legislation that would expand federal hate crime law to include attacks motivated by the victims’ gender or sexual orientation. The hate crimes bill, with strong Democratic backing, is expected to pass the House Thursday. Similar legislation is moving through the Senate.”

The hate-crimes bill has strong backing from state prosecutors. ThinkProgress:

Today, the House is voting on the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, a bipartisan bill that would enable federal officials to work with state and local officials to investigate and prosecute hate crimes.

Radical right-wing groups have lobbied aggressively against this bill. Focus on the Family founder James Dobson called it “insidious legislation” that would “silence and punish Christians for their moral beliefs.” (Listen to Dobson HERE.) The Concerned Women for America said the bill is meant to “grant official government recognition to both homosexual and cross-dressing behaviors, and to silence opposition to those behaviors.”

Today, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) reiterated this far-right talking point. He claimed that under the hate crimes bill, you would be charged with a crime if you were “thinking something bad” before you committed a crime against someone. “I just think it takes us down a path that is very scary.” Watch it.

The right-wing is wrong. This legislation goes after criminal action, like physical assaults, not name-calling or verbal abuse. The bill clearly states that “evidence of expression or associations of the defendant may not be introduced as substantive evidence at trial, unless the evidence specifically relates to that offense.”

The hate crimes legislation is by endorsed by 31 state attorneys general and leading law enforcement agencies. Under current law, federal officials are able to investigate and prosecute “attacks based on race, color, national origin and religion and because the victim was attempting to exercise a federally protected right,” but unable to intervene “in cases where women, gay, transgender or disabled Americans are victims of bias-motivated crimes for who they are.”

Written by Leisureguy

3 May 2007 at 10:06 am

Bush fails to make the cut

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Time has its 100 Most Influential People and Bush is not on the list. Via Alert Reader.

Written by Leisureguy

3 May 2007 at 8:37 am

Animated Bayeaux Tapestry

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Written by Leisureguy

3 May 2007 at 8:13 am

Posted in Art, Video

Journalists care about important things

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Like John Edwards’s hair, for example. Today Glenn Greenwald begins his column:

This week, the Bush administration sought vastly increased powers to spy on the telephone conversations of Americans, and then threatened to begin spying again illegally and without warrants. It was revealed that Condoleezza Rice would meet with Syrian officials, a significant shift in Middle East policy.

Yesterday, it was disclosed that Iraq’s government is actually purging itself of anyone who seeks to impede lawless Shiite militias. And one of the right-wing’s most influential academicians published an article on The Wall St. Journal Op-Ed page explicitly advocating “one-man rule” in America whereby the President can ignore the “rule of law” in order to fight The Terrorists.

None of that — or virtually anything else of even marginal significance — was reported by The Politico, an online political magazine founded by some of the nation’s most prestigious and admired (in Beltway terms) political journalists. But yesterday, The Politico‘s so-called “chief political columnist,” Roger Simon, published a 674-word article — prominently touted on The Politico‘s front page — exclusively about John Edwards’ haircuts, cleverly headlined “Hair today, gone tomorrow.”

The entire article is worth reading and reveals another interesting fact about Journalists: they have no shame.

Written by Leisureguy

3 May 2007 at 7:26 am

Posted in Media

Truefitt & Hill 1805

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Lady Gillette

Continuing the T&H extravaganza, this morning I lathered with their 1805 shaving cream. The reference is certain to the battle of Trafalgar:

21 October 1805Napoleonic Wars: Battle of TrafalgarBritish naval fleet led by Admiral Horatio Nelson defeats a combined French and Spanish fleet off the coast of Spain; however, Admiral Nelson is fatally shot.

In fact, T&H also makes Trafalgar shaving cream, which I’ll use tomorrow.

I used the Simpsons Key Hole 2 Best Badger—the handle shaped like the conventional keyhole, and the lather really was exceptional. The razor was a Lady Gillette identical to the one picture, with a new Feather blade. (Click thumbnail, then click the photo (in new window) to see full size.) I like the feel of the razor: long handle, deeply chequered grip, well balanced. Very smooth shave.

I finished off with Florida Water, but wish I had some 1805 Aftershave: “A fresh oceanic fragrance in which top notes of Bergamot, Cypress, Mandarin, and Cardamom are combined with Nutmeg, Sandalwood, Cedarwood, and Musk.”

Written by Leisureguy

3 May 2007 at 6:54 am

Posted in Shaving

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